Main | Photo Archive | Events | History | Alpha List | Family Tree

Bartholomew Rotchford

Born: County Wexford, Iredland in 1777
Died: 4/3/1857 Age 80

The following information comes from MM a third generation descendant of Phillip Hutter Rotchford


"Bart was born in County Wexford, Ireland in 1777. To date, that is all the information known about his life prior to his arrival in the U.S.
The Passenger and Immigration List Index 1500-1900 lists a Barthlomew Rotchford from Ireland as a passenger disembarking in the port of Alexandria, Virginia in 1812. His age is listed as 25, but our Bartholomew would have been actually 35. A typo?

He married Janepher Carne in February of 1815.

Can it can be assumed that Bart was "Landed Irish Gentry" as he owned multiple parcels of land in the outskirts of Washington, D.C. and in Alexandria,Virginia?

The US Army Corps of Engineers historical map of Landowners in Virginia from Alexandria to the Potomac River above Washington, D.C., shows the "ROCHFORD" land just west of Bailey's Crossing, southwest of Washington,DC.

In an article about Shuter's Hill Brewery by Shirley Scalley in 1996, the following is learned about Bart: on what is now know as the Carlyle Property on the West End of Alexandria, "Bartholomew Rotchford leased the lots in 1817 and then purchased them from John West's daughters in 1824. Over the next 30 years, he acquired a great deal of West End land that was conveyed at his death in 1858 to his son, Richard Rotchford. Shortly thereafter, Richard sought tenants for the idle land."

The 1820 U.S. Census, Town and Country of Alexandria, lists Bart "ROCHFORD" as the landowner, and the family group by gender and ages as follows: one free white male aged 26-45; two free white females under 10 years; one free white female aged 16-26; and one free white female aged 26-45. One person in the home is engaged in commerce. These age/gender groups don't match when compared to the list of children we know are Bart and Janepher's.

To date, a definitive list of Bart's children is still unfinished. There are 4 other persons suspected of also being Bart's children, but have not been included here pending further investigation. Surely, he had a son named after him and a daughter named after his wife, Janepher, as was family tradition. Religious life was also common, and those family members are difficult to track.

"MD" a third generation relative from the Janepher Rebecca Rotchford Denty branch, found written evidence in the book Portrait of a Town by T. Michael Miller that Bart owned the schooners named the "Mary Eleanor" and the "MacDonald" which, using Alexandria as their home port, sailed, according to the notices, mostly to the islands of St. Thomas and St. John transporting sugar, etc. Some question has been raised regarding "rum running". It is also interesting to note that historically, at this time, the port of Alexandria was the busiest port on the seaboard and center of the slave trade with the "slaver ships" docking in this same port. On the same page of the newspaper listing the comings and goings of the various sea vessels, there are ads for slave auctions.

On March 22, 1830 Bartholomew posted a warning to trespassers in the Alexandria, Gazette. "Notice: I hereby forewarn all persons from shooting, hunting, or otherwise trespassing on my enclosures, by land or water, at Cedar Grove, near West End, lying on the Hunting Creek. The land extends in a direct line from the Stone Bridge to the Creek, from thence, with the said creek, to Mrs. Zimmerman's lot. I am determined to enforce the law to its utmost extent upon all offenders. (This land was in the warehouse district of old Alexandria).

On April 8, 1830, the Alexandria Phenix Gazette posted a classified ad listing Bartholomew as the owner of 2 houses on the south side of King St, between Washington and St.Asaph Streets, currently occupied by Mr. Solomon the tailor and Mrs. Solomon the milliner. "To good tenants the rent will be low". (In a current map of Old Town Alexandria, now a historic district, there are a number of stores including Restoration Hardware, Banana Republic, The Gap and Hallmark on these lots. Kitty -corner from these lots is George Washington's Town House and Office.)

The 1850 U.S. Census lists 70 year old Bart as head of household, land value $12,000, born in Ireland, not working at the time.

Also in the household, Phillip, age 28 is a merchant. Susan age 22, not employed; Rick, a 19 year old clerk; John, a 16 year old student.

Also in the household, a 24 year old farmer named Patrick Walsh, born in Ireland. Also 59 year old James Sheehy, no occupation, also from Ireland.(James Sheehy had a soap and candle manufactory in the lots rented and later owned by Bart on the West End.) Finally, 22 year old Virginia born Julia Godfrey, a mulatto woman, resides in the home and she may be the "Mammy" that Phillip Hutter Rotchford spoke of fondly from his childhood.

On 2-24-1855, there is a newspaper article about the Fairfax County Court taking up contested reports about the Manassas Gap Railroad Company, and the case of B. Rotchford was set aside.

The Alexandria Gazette of 1-2-1861 lists properties with overdue real estate taxes and Bart is on that list. This is 4 years after Bart's death. The taxes are for the year 1855 and amount to less than $29.00. The value of the article is in the description of the land location: the lots are on Duke St and on Union St with the streets bounding the square in which the property lies being Duke, Union, Prince and Water. (Current maps reveal that land is on the Potomac waterfront, kitty-corner from Captain's Row, where many famous sea captains resided).

Bartholomew died 3 years prior to the Civil War, but a historical article about the Civil War activities in the area written by J. Wm. Jones "And Then A .P. Hill Came Up" documents that Munson's Hill and Hall's Hill were captured, and from the tops of those hills, the dome of the Capitol at Washington could be seen. This gives perspective to the proximity of the Rotchford land, adjacent to Munson's Hill, to Washington, D.C.

MD Rotchford reports that his great grandfather, who was Bart's son, Richard Libby Rotchford, Sr, signed a Quit Claim Deed in the 1890's giving up any rights to the farm which was taken by the Union Army during the Civil War. He also reports there was no significant money that filtered down to his own grandfather, Richard Libby Rotchford, Jr."


 

The Federal Census of 1830 showed 9 members of Bartholomew's household:

1 M between the age of 5-10 (Phillip??)

1M between the age of 20-30 (Oldest son? Name?? with Wife of same age?)

1M between the age of 40-50 This must have been Bartholomew

1 F under 5 (Susan??)

1 F 5-10

2 F 10-15

1 F 20-30

1 F 30-40 (Jannafer?? his wife?)

 

Federal Census Tract of 1850 showed Bartholowmew without a trade but owning $12,000 of real estate in Alexandria, Virginia

It appeared that there were other Rotchfords in the Household of Bartholomew at least they were listed immediately under him in the registry

Phillip age 28 (b. 1822?) Merchant

Susan age 22 (b. 1828?)

Nick (Rick?) age 19 (b. 1831?) Clerk

John age 16 (b. 1834?) Student

 

With the above information and knowing that Richard Sr. was born in 1830 it makes one wonder whether Nick was the "Nick" name of Richard SR. or could it be that Richard Sr. was already out of the home and Nick was a younger brother? A distant relative e-maIled 12/04 "I believe you will find that the "Nick", b.1931 in the 1850 census is actually Rick (Richard Libby Rotchford Sr)" The R's and N's are very similar in appearance in the census report.

The county or area in which the Rotchford's lived changed boundaries a number of times. At times it was Fairfax county, other times Lee and other times Alexandria county.